Labour MPs warn against re-admitting Ken Livingstone to the party

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Labour MPs warn against re-admitting Ken Livingstone to the party

Former London Mayor branded an 'embarrassment' who would bring party into disrepute if allowed to return

Ken Livingstone (Photo credit: Lauren Hurley/PA Wire)
Ken Livingstone (Photo credit: Lauren Hurley/PA Wire)

Labour MPs have warned against re-admitting Ken Livingstone to the party ahead of the end of his suspension over anti-Semitism.

The former London mayor was branded an “embarrassment” who would bring Labour into disrepute by prominent backbenchers.

It is understood Mr Livingstone will face a fresh investigation by the National Executive Committee (NEC) when it meets in March and he will not be reinstated until that is resolved.

But his suspension from the party is due to expire in April.


The ex-MP told the Press Association he had “not heard a word” about what was happening with his membership.

“I was suspended almost two years ago. The hearing was April last year. Ever since then I’ve not heard a word.”

Mr Livingstone has always insisted that he said Hitler had supported Zionism at one time, not that Hitler was a Zionist.

The former London mayor avoided expulsion in April 2017 at a disciplinary hearing of the NEC but it suspended him from the party for a further year.

“Everyone was expecting that they were going to expel me but I just pointed out that if they did I would go for judicial review,” he said.

“They didn’t have a chance of winning because I simply stated historical fact. I never said Hitler was a Zionist but that’s the trouble with fake news these days.

“I’ve never heard about any other complaints.

“I’m a retired househusband. I haven’t heard anything from anyone since the inquiry last April.”

He added: “Until some decision is taken I’m not even thinking about it.”

Labour MP Jess Phillips said: “Nothing says socialism quite like ‘I’ll sue you if I don’t get my way’, forgive me but what does he offer the party other than embarrassment and ego?”

Ruth Smeeth, who has suffered anti-Semitic abuse on social media, told the Observer MrLivingstone “continues to bring the party into disrepute” and “has no place in the party”.

During the general election, Mr Corbyn suggested that Mr Livingstone could face further investigation.

A Labour party spokesman said: “Ken Livingstone is suspended from the Labour Party. It would not be appropriate to comment further on an ongoing disciplinary matter.”

In a statement the day after Livingstone was suspended for a second year last April, Corbyn said it is “deeply disappointing Ken has failed to acknowledge or apologise for the hurt he has caused.

“Many people are understandably upset that he has continued to make offensive remarks which could open him to further disciplinary action.”

He added: “Ken’s subsequent comments and actions will now be considered by the National Executive Committee after representations from party members.”

It came after, in a bizarre inter interview with Jewish News on an underground train on his way home from the disciplinary hearing, he remained unrepentant.

“I’ve had the children of Holocaust survivors come up to me and say ‘my dad would have agreed with what you say,’” he said.

He offered perhaps his strangest defence yet when I suggested his pattern of behaviour suggested a Holocaust obsession. He said the terms ‘jumped up little Hitler’ and ‘isn’t that what concentration camp guards said?’ when responding to comments of ‘‘I’m just doing my job’ were “common bits of slang and abuse back in the 1950s”.

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